The Norman Transcript

January 30, 2014

United State’s comparative health

By Jesse Fuchs
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — According to recently released statistics from the World Health Organization and the World Bank, citizens of the United States are still faring poorly in health compared to citizens in other developed nations, even worse than some developing countries.

The major finding of health comparisons of the United States to other developed nations are as follows:

· Twenty-five developed nations have greater life expectancy than the United States,

· The U.S. fares just as poorly on a wide variety of health status measures, such as access to health care and infant mortality.

· Twenty-nine developed nations have greater healthy life expectancy than the U.S., meaning that not only do citizens tend to live shorter lives, they live these shortened years in incapacitated and poorer health.

· The U.S. spends $8,508 per capita on health care, vastly more than any other world nation, more than twice the amount of most of the nations that have better health outcome measures.

· Finally and most important, all of these developed nations with greater life expectancy, better infant health measures, longer healthy life expectancy and that spend much less on health care per capita have socialist, one-payer governmental health care systems.

Just as a many people are uninformed today of our comparative poor health outcomes, they are also unaware that ObamaCare was originally a Republican idea, first offered in the 1990s as a free-market alternative to the Clinton health care proposal.

ObamaCare also uses as a model the major aspects of the current Republican Massachusetts health care system. Republicans only began objecting to this type of health plan when it became apparent that they might use the issue to gain re-election, thereby deeming the health of our nations’ citizens less important than their obtaining and maintaining office.

ObamaCare is, at best, a timid step in the right direction. However, its major flaw is that as a Republican free-market model, it will never be totally successful in achieving the health outcomes of most other developed nations and will have little chance of doing so at their greatly reduced cost.

As it is, sadly, currently the case today in public debate on a wide variety of issues, it is a matter of “political philosophy trumping the facts.” Even though all the relevant facts show that a governmental one-payer health care system would be cheaper and certainly obtain better health outcomes, these facts are not allowed in public discourse because they are considered to be socialist ideas.

This rejection of scientific facts on the basis of maintaining political ideological purity is of small comfort to the millions of our U.S. citizens and the 30 percent of Oklahomans currently without health care coverage who are dying sooner and living less healthy lives than other developed nation counterparts.

Jesse Fuchs, Ph.D. is a demographer living in East Norman. You may direct your comments to him at


· “Health at a Glance 2013” annual report is available at

· Healthy life expectancy of the U.S. and other countries may be viewed at

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